January shopping round up

Bad minimalist!!!

Not sure how but I managed to spend quite a bit this month despite not being paid since September…

Clothes – £456.68

2 pairs of Richmond 7/8 trousers. Black & navy. Needed work clothes! £58.50 and £52

Christmas jumper £39.75

Grey jumper £45

Black & white Breton £15.90 – All Boden

Black dungarees £34.99

Baby slippers £7.99 – both H&M

Unicorn pyjamas £24

Green leopard print midi dress £26.50 – both ASOS

Mama gang t shirt £22 – Mere Soeur

Underwear £130.05 – Bravissimo

Books – £10.49

How to grow a baby £10.49

Other – £236.89

Runner from habitat £50

6 month Sisley sample subscription £35

Personalised cake topper and birthday banner NOTHS £65.50

Party supplies £66.89

Mascara £19.50

£704.06!!!

HOW? I don’t even understand how I managed to find £700! Jesus Christ.

Lets just see what I actually needed then…

Clothes

Work trousers. To be fair I did need work clothes as I don’t have any but the black trousers would have done. I only bought the navy because the black were back ordered and I figured I’d need a second pair eventually anyhow…

Christmas jumper was in the sale, grey jumper was another for work. Don’t have many work appropriate tops and none of them went with the navy trousers. The black & white breton is a sale purchase replacement for my existing black & white breton which snuck into the tumble dryer and shrunk in the sleeves.

I know no one needs black dungarees but I can’t really bring myself to regret buying them. I love them! The baby slippers are the only shoes she owns as she’s not walking so it’s soft shoes only for now. It’s too cold for just socks.

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Erm… ever tried to justify unicorn pyjamas? No? I love them. The green leopard print midi dress was a sale draw too. It had been on my wishlist for ages, sold out in my size then popped back in stock on sale so I grabbed it. No where to wear it but its time shall come.

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Mama gang t-shirt is made by someone I follow on instagram, I’m trying to support small businesses more and I liked the t shirt.

Underwear was required, none of my bras fit as I’ve gone from a 38GG to a 36HH since being pregnant so bought 3 new ones. Didn’t need to buy the matching pants though.. or the bright yellow lace set. Oh well.

Books

This is a book by someone I follow on instagram. I found her blog while pregnant (she’s a midwife and collects birth stories) and it was basically my entire pregnancy guide. I don’t plan on another baby just yet but she’s lovely so I bought her book.

Other

Oy. I didn’t need a new runner, I just found the one we had boring (Ikea stop gap purchase years ago). The sisley subscription? Don’t need that either. The cake topper and party supplies were for Tabi’s first birthday.

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The cake topper is amazing and can be reused every year. The party supplies were lovely but I found a box in the garage that was full of supplies we could have used, still in cellophane so that was a waste of money. The mascara was bought the same day the rubber seal on my old one failed! Was completely unusable after that!

Feel a bit shit seeing how much I’ve spent. It’s so easy to do in a trickle. I’d never have blown £700 in one go. Not really sure how to stop myself doing the same next month either.

Anyone else done a spending review and nearly died?

Simplifying the non-stuff stuff

A lot of the time minimalism focusses on ‘stuff’, actual physical things. Declutter your wardrobe, Konmari your komono… but I think, for me anyway, one of the main goals is to have a simpler life. Less time cleaning, less time fighting with your clothes to get dressed in the morning, less time wondering where in the actual fuck have I left my car keys this time?

So while my own ‘stuff’ is still in the excess pile, I thought I’d try letting something else go for while.

I’m working part time, studying part time, have a 1 year old and I really need to get fitter and lose quite a bit of weight. I can’t do it all while also seeing friends and family and actually having some chill time, it’s too much.

I can’t reduce any baby commitments, she, quite rightly, comes first. Work is already dramatically reduced. I used to do 70 hour weeks, I’ve now dropped to 21 hours. Which leaves Uni or fitness.

5 years ago I injured myself (exercising, oh the irony…) and in the 3 months that followed I piled on almost 4 stone because I stopped exercising completely and didn’t adjust my eating habits to compensate, plus all my muscle which I’d been working on turned to fat…

I’m currently in a size 18/20 (UK) and I’m not happy with that. I’m all out of proportion, unfit and I just don’t ‘look’ like myself. You know how body dysmorphia usually relates to a perfectly healthy person looking in the mirror and seeing themselves as bigger than they are? I have the opposite of that. I still picture myself as a size 12/14 and it’s jarring every time I see myself in pictures or catch myself in the mirror That’s not what I really look like! Is it?

I’d like to get some of ‘me’ back and I really, more than anything, have to get fitter. I’d like another child at some point and it took 2 years to conceive Tabi, we’d actually decided to adopt and had started the social worker meetings when I fell pregnant, and one of the possible reasons the Doctor suggested was my weight. Fat contains oestrogen which can muck up the hormone balance required in order to conceive and to progress with a pregnancy, thats not fat shaming or anything, thats biology pure and simple.

Anyway, fitness, obviously incredibly important and it is a priority, HOWEVER, I’m almost half way through my degree, I finish this module in June and then I have 4 months until my next module begins. So I’ve decided to drop any intention of going to the gym, sticking to a diet, completing 30 day shred… I’m not thinking about it. Not at all. I’m just getting through this module and then in the 4 month break, I’ll spend the uni time on exercise instead.

It’s good to let go of goals once in a while. Even if you’re only letting go temporarily. Now instead of thinking I should really be at the gym and all the guilt that goes with that, I have more flexibility and less stress/guilt!

Yay to ditching the non-stuff stuff.

30 minutes declutter

I’m not at the konmari stage yet because I have so much stuff piled up that I already know I don’t need/want that I really need to get rid of that first before getting right down to the serious stuff shedding.

I did go into our junk room (the room I place all non rubbish from previous declutters with intent to sell on eBay or gumtree) and do a very quick blitz ahead of Tabitha’s first birthday party tomorrow. 

Before:


After:



The blue Ikea bag holds things friends have said they would like to take off our hands, the white basket is things that are rubbish or belong elsewhere in the house and the little pile on the right is things that I’m taking to the charity shop tomorrow. 

The things that are left are things I’m going to offer to friends first via Facebook, things I’m selling on vestiaire collective or things I’m not ready to part with yet so need to come back to when I have more time.

At least I have access to the sofa again!

The money talk

I’m not sure how to go about this… I want to be honest but if I start discussing specifics I have 2 worries.

1.) That I give away so much I wind up the victim of fraud

2.) That specifying income might cause some people to ignore what I’m saying because they’re focussing on what they could do with those wages. I’m aware my wages have been very good (I’m not talking 6 figures on anything, but higher than the national average and triple the average for my home town) but you tend to spend according to your income, if that goes up so does your spending, your lifestyle choices adapt. So when your wages go down it’s a squeeze.

I have decided to land somewhere in the middle and discuss actualmonetary amounts where needed and just talk in percentages everywhere else.

So, lets start with my glorious 2013 wages. That was the most money I had ever earned. I almost doubled my income through overtime because we wanted to buy a new house and we couldn’t really afford it so I had to work as much as they would let me to afford the deposit (our last house got hit by the recession and we lost money on it so not much equity) and then because we doubled our house size, we had to spend on furniture to fill it.

In 2014 I cooled it a bit and started a part time degree so I couldn’t keep up the overtime. 2015 I got promoted so my base wage went up but I reduced the overtime even further because I was pregnant and couldn’t be arsed, 2016 I went on maternity leave (and maternity pay) and this year, I’ve decided to go part time.

I’ve cut my hours from average of 70+ per week down to 21. That means that I’m earning less than 40% of my 2013 wages. But with an extra person to feed and clothe. Oh and HAVE YOU SEEN THE COST OF CHILDCARE???

Literally the only part of my life I’ve managed to minimise is my income.

Which brings me to today. When I got my first part time payslip and realised I was £300 short of paying my bills. I mean before paying for diesel or food or clothes, social stuff anything like that, I actually could not pay my bills.

Between my husband and I we’re around £35k in debt. Which didn’t sound so bad a year ago. I mean 2 cars, some home improvements, couple of Apple upgrades… It didn’t even seem extravagant. Until now, when I can’t meet the monthly payment. Which, after having months where I could meet those payments and have upwards of £2k left to spend on whatever I fancied (Valentino shoes, Alexander Wang bags, last minute long weekends in Athens or Stockholm) is quite the shock.

I want to reduce the number of companies and credit providers I deal with. Reduce paperwork, reduce direct debits. I want to have savings. We’ve been very good about adding to the baby’s savings account (her savings account balance is more than I will earn in the next 3 months!) but we used up all of our own savings last year on maternity leave.

Really what I want is to get my finances into a state where we have money for emergencies, can go on 2 holidays a year (long weekends within Europe using air b&b, not big fancy holidays) and not be stressed about money. I don’t want to rely on credit, I don’t want Christmas to be a huge financial catastrophe, I don’t want to be pushed into increasing my hours at work because we need the money.

I’ve always thought one of the core principles of minimalism is that you shed what you don’t need in order to work less and live more but its taken dropping to the lowest wages in years for me to be motivated enough to actually sort our finances out.

I’m booked in for a financial overhaul with the bank this week to switch us from perpetually skint high earners to mid earners with savings (hopefully).

Which brings me to the serious part of this post. If you’re in debt, go to the bank. Don’t bury your head in the sand, don’t ignore it. Write down everything, and I mean every last penny owed, even to family and go to the bank. If they can’t help (if some debts aren’t with them or your credit rating is already goosed), go to citizens advice. It’ll be far less stressful in the long run.

 

Hi

I really like the idea of minimalism. It seems very zen, very ‘got my shit together’.

I’ve been obsessed with minimalism in some form or other since well before I’d even heard the word minimalism, and where has this life long daydream gotten me?

Well, I’m in a job that I don’t love but it pays really well, I need it to pay really well because I have a mortgage to pay. A mortgage on a 4 bedroom house for a family of 3. A 4 bedroom house that is bursting at the seams from too much stuff. Stuff bought with my very good wages and oh yeah the £35k in debt we have in spite of the very good wages that we racked up buying more stuff for the 4 bedroom house with only 3 people in it.

It’s utter madness tbh. So, in the time honoured tradition of ‘life altering events must = some sort of life overhaul’ I have started a blog to document my utter failure to become minimalist. To ponder upon the very meaning of the word ‘minimalism’. To try project 333, to KonMari, to declutter, to become… ‘more with less’.

I shall fess up to shopping, discuss my finances in woeful detail, take pictures on my clutter and generally pour my ever running to do list out upon these digital pages.

Hello, I’m Michelle.